From Broadway hits to rock n’ roll licks, Saturday night’s Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp show at The Egg Performing Arts Center had something for everyone. The twosome most recognized from their days in the musical theater smash hit turned blockbuster movie “Rent,” each brought their own respective bands and styles to the stage.
Pascal was up first often performing alone on guitar or bass, and later accompanied by Larry Edoff on piano and Gary Seligson on drums. Pascal showed off by jumping through vocal hoops whilst dazzling the audience with his wit and charm. Never one to miss the opportunity to tell a joke, his stories bounced between probing the audience on whether or not his dog should receive cosmetic surgery to fix an asymmetric anus, to being practically booed off stage by a bunch of retirees in Pensacola, Florida. Inbetween jokes he entertained the audience with songs, favorites were a whimsical version of “Maria” from “West Side Story” and the soaring “Single Drop of You,” a track from “Blinding Light,” Pascal and Edoff’s own album. But with the always anticipated “One Song Glory,” Pascal smashed it into the vocal stratosphere leaving “Rent” lovers screaming in their seats.
Anthony Rapp stormed the stage with his full five-piece band, laid back look and edgier voice, banging out heavier tunes like a powerful version of Radiohead’s “Creep” and a solid rendition of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.” But Rapp showed a softer side when describing his journey with “Rent” and how the Broadway show occurred simultaneously during the downslide of his mother’s fight and eventual loss to cancer. Rapp shared how his mother had asked him to sing “Without You” at her funeral, making its performance Saturday night resonate even deeper.“Visits to You” was a beautiful piece written by Rapp and recorded on his album “Look Around,” which he also dedicated to his mother. Segueing back to their “Rent” roots, Rapp sang a solo version of the popular “Another Day” and was then joined onstage by Pascal for a duet of “Seasons of Love” to the delight of the audience.
At first glimpse, Pascal and Rapp’s musical styles couldn’t be more different, but by the end of the night it was clear: Rapp’s loud, edgier set completely complemented Pascal’s melodic, ethereal one. The pinnacle of the evening was when Rapp and Pascal merged onstage to sing together, their voices perfectly complementing each other and their body language showing that even though it’s been years since their “Rent” days, they have become and remained great friends. The result sure satisfied the diverse crowd, which consisted of young and old. And with the continual screeching from a row of women in the audience, it was a surprise that a runaway bra didn’t turn up onstage.
Review, photographs and video by Lindsay Malachowski
Greg Haymes’ review at The Times Union
Excerpt from Michael Hochanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Rapp rocked his originals ‘Living Alive’ and ‘Then Again’ before Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ and R.E.M.’s ‘Losing My Religion,’ and he later paid tribute to Snow Patrol. He sang songs from ‘Rent’ and ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ — he’s entitled: he performed in both. He rocked them, and it was really good. The band nailed it, every song: thunder-bassist Paul Gill, active drummer Pete Asarisi and solid keyboardist Dan Weiss from the original Broadway ‘Rent’ band. (Guitarist David) Malachowski played the best solos and rocked and spiced and flavored and colored everything.”
ADAM PASCAL & BAND SET SET
Solsbury Hill (with Anthony Rapp) (Peter Gabriel)
Turn the Lights On
I Don’t Care Much/Rocket Man (Elton John)
Not a Day Goes By
Love Will Always Come Back (sung by Larry Edoff)
A Single Drop of You
The Last in Line (Dio)/Sunday
What I Did for Love
ANTHONY RAPP & BAND SET LIST
Losing My Religion (R.E.M.)
Origin of Love
Now I Know
Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol)
Visits to You
What You Own (with Adam Passcal)
ADAM PASCAL & BAND
One Song Glory
ANTHONY RAPP & BAND
ADAM PASCAL, ANTHONY RAPP & BOTH BANDS
Seasons of Love